Sultry Shu Qi escapes ugly fate in Stephen Chow's Journey To The West
For an actress, getting the lead role in a Stephen Chow Sing Chi movie is a big deal. It means joining a select club that includes Karen Mok, Vicki Zhao and Athena Chu, a group nicknamed the Sing girls.
Their roles in the Hong Kong funnyman and film-maker's comedies were a springboard to greater fame and popularity - but often at a price. They were often made to look outrageously hideous. In The God Of Cookery (1996), Mok sported godawful teeth and an unflattering mop. In Shaolin Soccer (2001), Zhao's pretty face was buried underneath a score of synthetic scars.
So when Taiwan's Shu Qi, 36, signed on for the fantasy adventure Journey To The West, a prequel to the well-known classic tale of the same name, she was prepared for a negative makeover.
"Once you accept his movie, you have to be prepared to be made ugly and I was actually looking forward to it," she says in Mandarin to the media at Hong Kong's Festival Walk mall on Wednesday night before the film's gala premiere there.